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Sunday, March 3, 2024
Newark Neighbours expands to help school food program

Newark Neighbours has expanded its mandate and is now offering help to non-profit groups not only in Niagara-on-the-Lake but across the region.

Newark has partnered with Food4Kids Niagara and has donated $3,000 to the St. Catharines-based not-for-profit organization.

Food4Kids provides food packages to 240 children in 14 schools across Niagara.

The organization, which ran a pilot project in January 2018, works with the Catholic and the public school boards to identify children from kindergarten to Grade 8 who have limited access to food.

A cheque was presented to Food4Kids this Tuesday at its office.

“We’re really glad to start the partnership with Food4Kids and it ties in with our mission: we don’t want anybody to go hungry,” said Newark Neighbours’ chair Laura Gibson. “What a worthwhile organization to contribute to.”

The donation will go toward making Christmas stockings for children, said Food4Kids’ executive director Amber Hughes.

“It’s been great. The community has welcomed us very warmly,” Hughes told The Lake Report. “We’re thankful for partnerships like the one we have with Newark Neighbours. It lets us provide a little bit extra for our kids.”

Each stocking will have treats, such as hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies, and some necessities, such as a toothbrush, socks and mittens.

Newark’s board has recently started looking at expanding its mandate and reaching out further into the Niagara community, Gibson said.

She said Newark will make sure NOTL people continue to be looked after, but the expansion makes her “really happy” because it means Newark is a successful organization capable of giving back to the community.

“And because people who come in to purchase from our thrift shop, which, in turn, helps our food bank, are all from the Niagara region,” Newark’s vice-chair Suzanne Vaillant added. “So, it’s not necessarily just people from Niagara-on-the-Lake who come shopping. It’s the whole region, so we’re trying to help everyone.”

Each food package, prepared by Food4Kids, costs $10 per child or $400 to feed a child for an entire school year, Hughes said.

Each package has 12 to 14 food items such as ready-to-make meals, fruit, vegetables and snacks.

After parents fill out a registration form, organization volunteers deliver packages to schools each Friday morning so children have something to eat for the weekend, Hughes said.

The organization’s pilot summer feeding program, which provides weekly food bins to the whole family as opposed to each child, served 25 clients this past summer, Hughes said. Each food bin cost about $65 and included a recipe of the week.

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